Our previous blog spoke of tooth grinding and the impact it has on all oral tissues, including jaw joints, gum health, and bone levels. Left unchecked, the habit of clenching and grinding can destroy tooth anatomy and lead to extensive and ongoing dentistry. Associated mainly as a night time habit – incorporating the use of a night guard can help prevent excessive tooth wear and other symptoms which may include:
- Jaw Pain and Clicking
- Tooth Sensitivity
- Pain When Biting
- Cracked and Chipped Teeth
Wearing a Night Guard
A night guard can provide the essential buffer between upper and lower teeth, protecting them from the rigors of pressure that accompanies the pattern of tooth grinding. Not considered a cure for clenching and grinding, a night guard can introduce stability to a bite so that facial muscles remain relaxed and the propensity to grind lessens. Available in hard or soft materials, a custom designed night guard provides superior fit and comfort compared to an over the counter variety and is capable of being adjusted as needed as muscles, joints, and oral tissues adapt to the guard.
How is a Night Guard Fabricated?
The fit and customization of a night guard is obtained by taking an impression of a patient’s upper and lower teeth. The unique shape, length, and position of teeth have to be taken into consideration when designing a guard so that its performance can be optimized. Once impressions have been gathered they are sent to a dental lab where the guard is fabricated in approximately three to five days. Your dentist is able to specify the hardness and design of the night guard, and incorporate other design needs to ensure that the guard can withstand a patient’s degree of grinding. Fitted and adjusted by your dentist, a night guard is ideally worn every bedtime to maximize its protective capabilities and to help break the muscular habit of clenching.
The benefits of wearing a night guard may include:
- Reduction in Migraine Headaches
- Helps prevent the development of Jaw Joint issues
- Increases the quality of sleep
- Slows the destructive nature of grinding